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Preempting the Holocaust: Book by Lawrence L. Langer

Preempting the Holocaust

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ISBN: 9780300082685    Publisher: Yale University Press Year of publishing: 2000     Format:  Paperback No of Pages: 226        
Lawrence L. Langer, perhaps the most important literary critic of the Holocaust, here explores the use of Holocaust themes in literature, memoirs, film, and painting. Among the authors he examines are Primo...Read more
Lawrence L. Langer, perhaps the most important literary critic of the Holocaust, here explores the use of Holocaust themes in literature, memoirs, film, and painting. Among the authors he examines are Primo Levi, Elie Wiesel, Cynthia Ozick, Art Spiegelman, and Simon Wiesenthal. He appraises the art of Samuel Bak, considered by many the premier Holocaust painter of our time, and assesses the "Holocaust Project" by Judy Chicago. He also offers a critical interpretation of Undzere Kinder, a neglected but important Yiddish film made in Poland after the war about Holocaust orphans. Langer focuses his attention on a variety of controversial issues: the attempt of a number of commentators to appropriate the subject of the Holocaust for private moral agendas; the ordeal of women in the concentration camps; the conflicting claims of individual and community survival in the Kovno ghetto; the current tendency to conflate the Holocaust with other modern atrocities, thereby blurring the distinctive features of each; and the sporadic impulse to shift the emphasis from the crime, the criminals, and the victimized to the question of forgiveness and the need for healing.
He concludes with some reflections on the challenge of teaching the Holocaust to generations of students who know less and less of its history but continue to manifest an eager curiosity about its human impact and psychological roots.
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About the author: Lawrence L. Langer
Lawrence L. Langer is Alumnae Chair Professor of English Emeritus, Simmons College, Boston. He is also the author of The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination... Read more
Lawrence L. Langer is Alumnae Chair Professor of English Emeritus, Simmons College, Boston. He is also the author of The Holocaust and the Literary Imagination (ISBN 0 300 02121 6, pb. #13.95) and Holocaust Testimonies: The Ruins of Memory (ISBN: 0 300 05247 2, pb. #10.50), both published by Yale University Press.
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Review:
Langer has become a conscience, demanding that we grapple with the real implications of the Holocaust, its evil. This compelling book is a significant contribution to the field of Holocaust...Read more
Langer has become a conscience, demanding that we grapple with the real implications of the Holocaust, its evil. This compelling book is a significant contribution to the field of Holocaust studies." Michael Berenbaum, former president, Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation "An essential work on one of the central historical moments in history." Kirkus Reviews "Langer's achievement is to insist obdurately that even the most terrible things said about the Holocaust do not plumb it...How valuable is the protest he...put[s] up." Richard Eder, Los Angeles Times
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